Neuro Humanities Studies

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Grazia Pulvirenti, Renata Gambino, The paradox of Romantic ekphrasis. Metacritic discourse, perception and imagination in art descripti


Ekphrasis is a text genre based on the intertwining of visual and verbal features, involving the processes of both reading, and priming a visual image or a related action. We argue in this study that...

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David S. Miall,

Emotions and the Structuring of Narrative Responses


Source: Poetics Today, 32 :323-348.
Year: 2011

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Research that suggests the primacy of the emotions provides the context for a study of some of the processes sustained by the emotions during literary reading. In particular, the early processing of emotion in response to language, including narrative, is shown by several ERP (evoked-response potentials) studies that focus on the first 500 msecs of response. These studies suggest the possibility that emotion plays a key role in subsequent cognitive processing, including the making of inferences, invoking the reader’s memory, or relating empathically to a character. Emotions evoked in these ways during literary reading embody a number of distinctive processes, and some of their implications are then examined here. These include self-reference (e.g., autobiographical memory), which may occur more often in response to literary than to other texts; anticipation (e.g., suspense, forming goals for characters), which also seems more frequent among literary readers; an inherent narrativity of emotions that prompts us to construe situations in narrative terms; a capacity of emotion to integrate experiences, whether through similarities across conventional boundaries or through a process in which one emotion modifies another; and a tendency to animism, the interpretation of objects and events through human emotions, especially in the early phases of response, prior to consciousness.

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